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January 6, 2008 PM


MK 10:1-12

INTRO: There are few more emotional and difficult issues among Christian people than that of the integrity of marriage. The words "'til death do us part" do not seem to be taken seriously, and without much thought of consequences (either emotional, economic or spiritual) people rush to court to end a marriage to which God was a witness to the vows and covenant (Mal 2:14). Differences and difficulties are bound to occur in the marriage relationship. But couples (or one member of the couple) seem to be impatient and are willing to throw away the relationship rather than to work hard at overcoming problems and making the marriage stronger. But the problem is not new! It was very much a problem in the world into which Jesus came.

    1. Mk 10:2 - "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?"
      1. remember, women in that time had few rights under the law
      2. men had all the rights and power over their wives
      3. men were divorcing wives for virtually no cause - widespread
    2. Two schools of thought contemporary with Jesus
      1. one rabbinic direction: only for the cause of adultery - Shammai
      2. another rabbinic direction: for any displeasure (a burnt meal) - Hillel
      3. although badly motivated, the question was important at that time
    1. He first asked them what Moses had commanded - Mk 10:3,4
      1. they referred to Deut 24:1ff - remember, it was of God (not just Moses)
      2. the issue centered on the word "uncleanness" - but evolved in rabbinic thought to the "find no favor in his eyes"
      3. (my opinion? I believe the "uncleanness" was sexual infidelity"
    2. Jesus acknowledged this was not God's original intention about marriage
      1. He referred to "the hardness of your heart"
      2. there can be no doubt (other questions aside) that Moses addressed a serious and pervasive problem
      3. in Mt 19:8 are the words "suffered you" - the commandment was of the procedure - not of a necessity to put away ones wife!
    3. Jesus then restates the original marriage law - Mk 10:5-8
      1. this is God's present law for marriage
      2. in Mt 5:31,32 and 19:9 Jesus gives the one exception - fornication
      3. I recognize that there are books written, lectures given which seek to broaden this marriage law ... but I do not find scriptural evidence for them!
    4. Then, Jesus adds something we must not ignore - Mk 10:9
      1. overlooked, forgotten is this: "what God hath joined"
      2. Mal 2:14 - God witnesses the making of the covenant - then and now, however, the covenant is selfishly disregarded - God still hates divorce(Mal 2:16)
      3. no human authority has the God given right to dissolve a marriage
    1. Mk 10:10-12 - "...disciples asked him again of the same matter"
      1. obviously, what Jesus taught was at odds with contemporary practice
      2. and the disciples (apostles) wanted to be certain of what He taught
      3. they knew what I know ... marriage & the home are too important, too valuable to be handled lightly and carelessly
    2. Jesus states clearly the "general" rule to be observed
      1. to divorce and remarry constitutes adultery
      2. there is, it's true, that one exception which Jesus notes in Mt 19:9
      3. even the exception is clearly stated
    1. This is what we must preach and teach
      1. Rom 7:1-3 - inspiration could hardly have made this more plain
      2. the integrity of marriage is God's business and God's concern
      3. but it needs to be our concern, too
    2. We must teach our children carefully concerning marriage
      1. they need to see & hear in us the Biblical, spiritual basis for lastingness
      2. they need to look carefully "before they leap" - who is this person in whom I am maritally interested? heritage? values? priorities? interests? etc.?
      3. we must teach them about problem solving in relationships - patience, communication, forgiveness, commitment

CLOSE: I have no doubt that what Jesus taught was dramatically different from that world's view. But it is also dramatically different from our world's view. But it is the issue taught and resolved from God's view! And we must learn to honor it as such.

Cecil A. Hutson

06 January 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)